Caucasian Front in the First World War. Part 2.

Combat actions in 1914-1915,.
Caucasian Front in the First World War.  Part 2.Russian-Turkish (Caucasian) front was 720 km long, stretching from the Dark Sea to Lake Urmia. But it must be understood the most important feature of the Caucasian war theater — in contrast to the European front, there was a continuous strip of trenches, ditches, fences, military actions focused along narrow paths, mountain passes, often goat trails. There has focused most of the armed forces of both sides.
From the first days of the war Our homeland and Turkey sought to seize the strategic initiative that could dedicate the coming tide of the war in the Caucasus. Turkish plan of operations on the Caucasian front, developed under the Turkish Minister of War Enver Pasha and approved by the German military spices, execute foresaw the invasion of Turkish troops in the Caucasus from the flanks through the district of Batumi and Iranian Azerbaijan, with the following environment and the liquidation of the Russian troops. The Turks were calculated by the beginning of 1915 to capture all the Caucasus and fold the Russian troops for the Caucasus mountain range.

Russian troops had to hold puzzle Baku — Vladikavkaz and Baku — Tbilisi, to defend an important industrial center — Baku and prevent the emergence of the Turkish forces in the Caucasus. Since the main front for the Russian army was Russian-German, Caucasian army was heavily engaged on the defensive frontier mountainous frontier. In the upcoming Russian command planned takeover of Erzurum, an important fortress, the taking of which would threaten Anatolia, but it needs were significant reserves. It was necessary to break the third Turkish army, and then take a strong fortress, and hold on to it, as one Turkish spare parts. But they are just not there. Caucasian front, the Supreme Headquarters, the number of minor and major efforts were concentrated against Germany and Austria-Hungary.

Although, in common thinking, to overcome the German Empire could be, dealing crushing blows to the "weak link" of the Quadruple Alliance (German, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria) — Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. Germany itself though was a powerful mechanism for combat, but with virtually no resources, to negotiate a long-term war. And proved that AA Brusilov, in May-June 1916, virtually crushing the Austro-Hungarian empire. If our home was limited to the border with Germany, active defense and the main blows dealt to by Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire, who were not able to withstand the numerous, brave enough perfectly cooked (first the war, when the army was with the whole staff and guards) Russian armies. These acts victorious end to the war in 1915, Germany would be unable to stand alone against 3 majestic powers. And our homeland received from the war of principle for the development of its area (the Bosporus and the Dardanelles), public-minded public, could industrialize without the Revolution, becoming a favorite of the planet.


Caucasian Front in the First World War.  Part 2.Battle actions on the Caucasian front began with the first November meeting engagements in Kepri-Key. Russian troops under the command of General Berhmana simply overcame the border, and began to move in the direction of Erzurum. But the Turks will soon counterattacked forces on 9 and 10 buildings, immediately pulling the housing 11. Keprikeyskaya operation ended departure of Russian troops to the border, 3rd inspire the Turkish army and the Turkish command began to nourish the hope that will be able to destroy the Russian army.

At the same time, the Turkish army invaded the Russian countryside. November 18, 1914 Russian troops left Artvin and retreated Batum. With the assistance of Ajarians (part of the Georgian people, in a large part of professing Islam), rebelled against the Russian government, under the control of the Turkish troops ran across the entire area of Batumi, except the fortress of St. Michael and the Upper portion of Adjara Batumi neighborhood as the city of Ardahan, Kars and Ardahan significant part of the neighborhood . Turks in the occupied territories, with the assistance of Adjarans carried out mass murder of the Armenian and Greek population.

Throwing the fight to help the troops Bergman, all reserves Turkestan Corps coming of the Turks was stopped. The situation was stabilized, the Turks have lost up to 15 thousand people (total loss), Russian troops — 6 thousand.

Sarikamish operation (9 (22) December 1914 — (4) 17 January 1915)

Caucasian Front in the First World War.  Part 2.In connection with the planned coming, took command of the Turkish configuration, uncertain of success Hasan Izzet Pasha, minister of war itself has changed Enver Pasha, the chief of staff Lieutenant-General von Shellendorf, chief of operations, Major Feldman. Plan staff Enver Pasha was the fact that by December Caucasus Army occupied the front of the Black Sea to Lake Van length greater than 350 km in a straight strip in the main on the Turkish countryside. With all of this almost two-thirds of Russian forces were pushed forward, while between Sarykamyshe and Kepri-Kay. In the Turkish army the opportunity to try to get around the main Russian forces on their right flank and hit in the rear by cutting a metal road Sarykamysh — Kars. In general, Enver Pasha wanted to repeat the experience of the German army to defeat the second Russian army in East Prussia.

From the front, acts Sarykamysh squad had to tie down the 11th Turkish Corps, the 2nd Cavalry Division and Kurdish cavalry corps, while the 9th and 10th Turkish Corps, 9 (22) December began to detour via Olta (Oltu) and Bardus (Bardiz), intending to go to the rear Sarikamish squad.
But the plan was a lot of feeble places: Enver Pasha overestimated the readiness of its own forces, nedouchel difficult mountain terrain in the criteria for the winter, the time factor (though any delay drove up on there) is actually a hundred percent no people familiar with the area, the creation of the impossibility of perfectly organized rear. Because there were terrible mistakes: December 10 as two Turkish divisions (31 and 32) 9 of the body by the advancing direction Oltinskomu staged fight among themselves. (!) As indicated in the memories of 9 Turkish corps commander, "When the error was realized, people began to sob. It was a heartbreaking scene. We are a full four hours fought with the 32nd Division. " Both sides fought 24 companies, the loss in killed and wounded amounted to about two thousand people.

Swift stroke of the Turks vyshybli Olta significantly inferior to them in numbers Oltinsky squad (chief Gen. N. Istomin), but it was not destroyed. 10 (23), Sarykamysh squad relatively easy attack hit the front of the 11th Turkish Corps. 11 (24), the headquarters of the Sarykamysh squad arrived from Tbilisi de facto commander of the Caucasian Army, General AZ Myshlaevsky and his chief of staff, General Nikolai Yuden
itch. General Myshlaevsky Sarykamysh organized the defense, but at the crucial moment, incorrectly assessed the situation, gave the order to retreat, left the army and went to Tiflis. In Tiflis Myshlaevsky presented a report about the dangers of the Turkish invasion of the Caucasus, which caused disruption rear of the army (in January 1915, he was relieved of his command in March of the same year, dismissed, it was replaced by NN Yudenitch). General Yudenitch took command of the 2nd Corps of Turkestan, and the actions of all Sarykamysh squad as previously ran the General GE Berhman, commander of the 1st Corps of the Caucasus.

Caucasian Front in the First World War.  Part 2.12 (25), the Turkish troops who committed workaround took Bardus and turned on Sarykamysh. Frosty weather, but lowered its growth coming, and led to a significant (multi-million) non-combat losses of the Turkish forces (non-combat losses reached 80% of personnel). 11th Turkish Corps continued pressure on the main Russian forces, but did so with sufficient vigor, allowing Russian divert from the front one by one stronger side and flip back to Sarykamyshe.

16 (29), with the approach of reserves Russian troops threw back the enemy and ran over to the offensive. December 31 Turks were ordered to retreat. Dec. 20 (January 2) was recaptured Bardus, and December 22 (January 4) — surrounded and captured the whole of the 9th Turkish corps. The remains of the 10th Corps were obliged to withdraw, and by 4-6 (17-19) Jan. situation at the front was restored. The general prosecution, despite severe fatigue forces lasted until January 5, inclusive. Russian troops are due to loss and fatigue, stopped the pursuit.

In the end, the Turks lost 90,000 men killed, wounded and prisoners (including 30 000 frozen), 60 guns. The Russian army also suffered a tangible loss -20,000 dead and wounded and more than 6,000 frostbite. At the conclusion of General Iudenich, the operation was a complete defeat of the Turkish 3rd Army, it has actually ceased to exist, Russian troops occupied the lucrative initial position for new operations, the South Caucasus has been cleared from the Turks, except a small part of the Batumi area. As a result of this battle the Russian Caucasus Army suffered military action on the ground in Turkey and discovered a path deep into Anatolia.

This victory has had an impact on the Russian Federation in the Entente allies, the Turkish command had to pull forces from the front of Mesopotamia, which eased the situation of the British. In addition Britain alarmed successes of the Russian army, the British strategy already imagined Russian Cossacks in the streets of Constantinople, decided to start the Dardanelles operation (operation to capture the Dardanelles and Bosporus straits with shock Anglo-French fleet and landing) is 19 February 1915.

Sarikamish operation represents a very rare example of a fairly standard combat environment — the struggle that began in an atmosphere of Russian defense and culminated in conditions head-on collision, with the decompressed encirclement from within and persecution residues bypass wing Turks.

It is a fight again highlights a huge role in the war bold, active, not afraid to make decisions commander. Here the supreme command of the Turks and we have to face Enver Pasha and Myshlaevsky, abandoning his ¬ its main force of their armies, they were considered already lost, give a sharp example of the negative. Caucasian army was saved infusion ¬ ity in carrying out decisions by chiefs, while senior commanders were confused and were prepared by-step for the fortress of Kars. Made famous by their names in this battle: the detachment commander Oltinskogo Istomin NM, Chief of Staff of the Caucasian Army Yudenitch NN, commander of the 1st Corps of the Caucasus Berhman GE, commander of the 1st Brigade of the Kuban Plastunskaya Przewalski MA (a cousin of the famous traveler), commander of the 3rd Infantry Brigade Caucasian Gabaev VD


Beginning of 1915 is characterized by active actions to Erivan direction, as in Persia-Iran, where the Russian military command has tried to cooperate with the British, who were based in southern Persia. At the direction of acting 4th Caucasian Corps under the command of a Oganovsky PI
By the beginning of the 1915 campaign, the Russian Caucasus Army had 111 battalions, 212 hundred, 2 and aviation detachment, St.. 50 militia and volunteer brigades, 364 guns. 3rd Turkish army regained its fighting capacity after the defeat at Sarykamyshe had in its composition 167 battalions, and other compounds. Turkish 3rd Army was restored at the expense of parts 1 and 2 of Constantinople armies and the 4th Syrian. It was headed by Mahmoud Kamil Pasha, the staff managed the German major Guze.

Caucasian Front in the First World War.  Part 2.

Having acquired experience Sarikamish operations in the Russian rear were made fortified areas — Sarykamysh, Ardahan, Ahalhatsihsky, Ahalkalahsky, Alexandrapol, Baku and Tiflis. They were armed with guns of an old army supplies. This measure ensured the freedom of maneuver for parts of the Caucasian Army. Not counting the army reserve was created in Sarykamysh and Kars (very battalions 20-30). He has permitted the time to parry the Turks Alashkertskom direction and highlight the expeditionary force Baratova for action in Persia.

The focus of the warring parties was a struggle for the flanks. The Russian army had a puzzle to oust the Turks from the area of Batum. The Turkish army, carrying out the plan of German-Turkish command on the deployment of "jihad" (holy war against the Muslims wrong), sought to draw Persia and Afghanistan in open revolt against the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom and the coming to Erivan direction to achieve annexation of Russian Baku oil region.

In February and April 1915, fighting had local character. By the end of March, the Russian army cleared from the Turks and the entire southern Adjara Batumi district. Russian Caucasus Army was severely restricted ("slug famine", prepared for war supplies were used up, and until the industry is moving to the "war footing", the shells missed) in shells. Army troops had been weakened by the European theater redeployment of its forces. On the European front, the German-Austrian armies were vast coming, the Russian army retreated fierce fighting, the situation was very difficult.

In late April, Iran cavalry troops invaded the Turkish army.

Already in the first period of fighting the Turkish authorities began deportation of the Armenian population in the front line. In Turkey, turned anti-Armenian Genocide propaganda.Zapadnyh accused in the mass desertion of the Turkish army, in the organization of sabotage and uprisings in the rear of the Turkish troops. About 60 thousand Armenians called into the Turkish army first war were then disarmed, are designed to operate in the rear, and then destroyed. Since April 1915, under the guise of deportation of Armenians from the front line, the Turkish authorities have started the actual destruction of the Armenian population. In some places, the Armenian population of the Turks had organized armed resistance. Namely, for the oppression of the uprising in the town of Van was oriented Turkish Division, blocking the city.

To assist th
e rebels, 4th Caucasian army corps of the Russian army moved in coming. The Turks retreated, the Russian army had captured the principal towns. Russian troops cleared the Turks immense countryside, advancing to 100 km. Combat actions in this area have become history under the name of Van fight. The arrival of Russian troops rescued from certain death of thousands of Armenians, who, after a temporary withdrawal of Russian troops moved to Eastern Armenia.

Battle of Van (April-June 1915)

Caucasian Front in the First World War.  Part 2.With the outbreak of World War II in the Van vilayet (administrative unit of the Ottoman Empire) was organized massacres of the Armenian population. Defeated on the Caucasian front and the retreating Turkish troops, joined the Kurdish armed gangs and deserters, marauders, under the pretext of "infidelity" of Armenians and their sympathy for the Russian savagely slaughtered Armenians, looted their property, ruined Armenian settlements. In some counties vilayet of Van Armenians resorted to self-defense, were stubborn battles against rioters. More significant was the Vani self-defense, which lasted about a month.
The Armenian population has taken measures to reflect the impending attack. To manage self-defense was formed a single military authority — "The military authority of the Armenian self-Wan." Have been made to ensure the service and rassredotachivaniya goods, honey assistance armory workshop (it was established the ready gunpowder, guns, two guns were cast), and "Union of Women", who was involved in the creation of the main odezhki for fighters. In the face of impending threat teamed together representatives of Armenian political parties. Against overwhelming odds (12 thousand soldier standing army, a huge number of armed insurgents), patron of Van possessed less than 1,500 fighters.

Self-defense began on April 7, when the Turkish soldiers fired on Armenian ladies, moving along the road from c. Shushants to Aygestanu; Armenians opened return fire, then began a general attack on the Turkish Aygestan (Armenian language district of Van.) The first 10 days of Van self-defense were marked by successes for the defenders. Despite the fact that Aygestan was ill-fire, the enemy was not able to break through the line of defense of the Armenians. Even a night assault on organized arrived from Erzurum German officer did not give the results: the Turks, having suffered the loss, were excluded. Patrons acted bravely, inspired fair aims of their struggle. In the ranks of the defenders fought a lot of ladies and men. In the second half of April, languid fighting lasted. The enemy, without annoying replenishing their forces, decided to break through the sample line of defense vantsev. Lasted shelling of the town. In the process of self-defense of Van Turks rampant surrounded by Wang, carving out peaceful Armenian population and delivering fire Armenian villages, at the hands of mobs killed about 24 thousand Armenians were looted and burned more than 100 villages. April 28 Turks undertook a new attack, but the defenders repelled Van him. After that, the Turks abandoned activism, continuing shelling Armenian quarters of Van. First, in May of advanced Russian army and the forces of Armenian volunteers approached Wan.

The Turks were obliged to raise the siege and withdraw. May 6 Russian forces and Armenian volunteers joined the Van exalted met intercessors and population. Military body self addressed an appeal "To the people of Armenia," in which greeted the victory of the just cause of the violence and despotism. Vani self-defense — Page heroic stories of the Armenian national liberation movement
In July, the Russian troops repelled the coming of the Turkish troops in the area of Lake Van.

Alashkertskaya operation (June 26 (July 9) — July 21 (August 3))

After the end of the 1914-1915 operations Sarikamish 4th Caucasian Army Corps (General of Infantry P.I.Oganovsky) reached the area cop-Bitlis with the objective of preparing for the transition to the total coming to Erzurum. Turkish commanders, seeking to thwart the plan of command of the Caucasian Army, secretly concentrated west of Lake Van strong shock group led by Abdul-Kerim Pasha (89 battalions, 48 squadrons and hundreds). She had a puzzle to pin down the 4th Army Corps Caucasian (31 Battalion, 70 squadrons and hundreds) and a rugged desert area north of Lake Van, kill him and then move on to the coming of the Kars to cut the communications of Russian troops and force them to sail. Part of the body under the pressure of superior enemy forces were obliged to withdraw from line to line. By 8 (21) July the Turkish troops came to the turn of Geliana, Jura, Diyadin, creating a danger of a breakthrough to Kars. To disrupt the enemy's plan of the Russian command did in Dajar shock troops of Lieutenant-General Nikolai Baratova (24 battalions, 31 sq.m.), which is 9 (22) July made counterstrike against the flank and rear of the third Turkish army. After a day in the coming fled the main forces of the 4th Caucasian Army Corps. Turkish troops, fearing bypass began to recede, and using insufficiently vigorous action parts of the body, able to July 21 (August 3) on the defensive at the turn Byulyuk Bashi, Ercis. In the end, the operation plan of the enemy to kill the 4th Caucasian Army Corps and break through to Kars had failed. Russian troops have kept a large part of their busy area and provided the conditions for the operation of the Erzurum 1915-1916, facilitated acts of British troops in Mesopotamia.

In the second half of the year martial deeds spread to the area of Persia.

In October-December 1915, the commander of the Caucasian Army, General Yudenitch Hamadanskuyu performed a successful operation, which warned of Persia entry into the war on Germany's side. October 30, Russian troops have planted in the port of Anzali (Persia), by the end of December, defeated the pro-Turkish armed troops and took control of the area North of Persia, ensuring the left flank of the Caucasus Army.
After surgery Alashkertskoy Russian troops tried to make a number of attacks, but because of a shortage of ammunition all attacks ended without result. By the end of 1915, Russian troops at a small exception retained the areas which they have won in the spring and summer of this year, but due to the heavy situation on the Eastern front, and a shortage of ammunition, Russian command had to turn away from taking action in the Caucasus in 1915. The front of the Caucasian Army declined by 300 km. Turkish command their own purposes in the Caucasus, in 1915 did not have gained.

Western Armenian Genocide

Caucasian Front in the First World War.  Part 2.Talking about the fighting in Turkey in this period, we can not pay attention to such a terrible event as a genocide of the Western Armenians. In these days of the genocide of the Armenians also extensively discusses the press and the world community, and the Armenian people keeps the memory of the innocent victims of the genocide.

During the First World War, the Armenian people suffered a terrible tragedy, the Young Turk government in unheard until the scale and with unprecedented ruthlessness complied total extermination of the Armenians. Extermination took place not only in western Armenia, and in the whole of Turkey.
The Young Turks, pursuing, as already mentioned, aggressive goals, sought to make a "great empire". But were under Ottoman rule the Armenians, as well as a number of other nations, languid subjected to oppression and persecution, sought to get rid of the bitter Turkish rule. To prevent such a sample of Armenians and forever put an end to the Armenian question, the Young Turks conspired to physically exterminate the Armenian people. The rulers of Turkey have decided to use the outbreak of World War II and to carry out its program from Straseni — program of the Armenian Genocide.

First massacre of Armenians took place in late 1914 and the first 1915 First they organized shelters, secretly. Under the pretext of mobilization of the army and the collection of workers for the road construction, the authorities called in the army adult male Armenians who were disarmed and then secretly, certain groups have been destroyed. In this period were immediately destroyed hundreds of Armenian villages located in the border areas with Russia.

Caucasian Front in the First World War.  Part 2. After the defeat of dangerously mostly able to resist the Armenian population, the Young Turks in the spring of 1915 and started to open a general massacre of peaceful, defenseless inhabitants, realizing that criminal action under the guise of deportation. In the spring of 1915 was ordered to evict the Western Armenian population to the deserts of Syria and Mesopotamia. The order of the ruling clique Turkish initiated a general massacre. A general settlement of ladies, kids and old people. The piece was carved in place in their home villages and towns, and the other, who was forcibly deported in the way.

The massacre was carried out with Western Armenian population Straseni cruelty. The Turkish government has given indication of their local authorities to be decisive, and not to spare anyone. Thus, the Turkish Interior Minister Talaat Bey in September 1915, telegraphed Governor of Aleppo, which is necessary to eliminate the Armenian population, not sparing even the nursing babies. Rioters acted in the most barbaric way. Having lost the human species, the executioners threw the kids in the river, burnt and old ladies in churches and homes were selling women. Witnesses fear and loathing depict atrocities killers. Catastrophically killed and many members of the Western Armenian intellectuals. April 24, 1915 in Constantinople were arrested and then brutally murdered by famous writers, poets, journalists, and many other cultural and science. The stately Armenian composer Komitas, only escaped death case, could not resist the horrors he witnessed, and lost his mind.

Caucasian Front in the First World War.  Part 2. The news of the extermination of the Armenians entered the printing of the European countries, became known gruesome details of the genocide. The global community has expressed a violent protest against the hateful actions of Turkish rulers who put themselves ahead goal is to kill one of the ancient civilized nations of the world. In protest against the genocide of the Armenian people were slightly bitter Maxim, Bryusov and Yuri Veselovskii in Russia, Anatole France, and Romain Rolland in France, Fridtjof Nansen, Norway, Karl Liebknecht and Joseph Marquardt in Germany, James Bryce in the UK and many others. But nothing has affected the Turkish thugs, they continued their atrocities. The massacre of the Armenians was continued in 1916. It occurs in all parts of Western Armenia and Turkey in all areas inhabited by Armenians. Western Armenia was deprived of its own indigenous population.
The main organizers of the genocide of the Western Armenians were Turkish Minister of War Enver Pasha, the government, the Minister of the Interior Talaat Pasha, one of the great military leaders of Turkey, General Cemal Pasha and other Young Turk favorites. Some of them were later killed by Armenian patriots. For example, in 1922, Talaat was assassinated in Berlin, and Jemal — in Tiflis.

During the Kaiser's Germany isstrebleniya Armenians — Turkey's ally strongly protected the Turkish government. It sought to take over the Middle East, and the aspirations of the liberation of Western Armenians have impeded the implementation of these plans. In addition, the German imperialists had hoped means deportation of Armenians to get a cheap labor force for the construction of the railroad Berlin — Baghdad. They strongly incited the Turkish government to organize the forced evictions of the Western Armenians. Moreover, stationed in Turkey German officers and other officials took part in organizing the massacres and deportations of Armenians. The Entente powers, the Armenian people as an ally, almost did not take any practical steps to rescue victims of Turkish vandals. They are limited only by the fact that the May 24, 1915 issued a declaration in which they laid on the Young Turk Government responsible for the massacre of the Armenians. And the United States, which have not taken part in the war, did not even make such a statement. While the Turkish butchers slaughtered the Armenians, the ruling circles of the United States strengthen their trade and economic relations with the Turkish government. When the massacre, some Western Armenian population resorted to self-defense and tried — where it would be, to protect the life and honor. For the gun come from the population of Van, Chapin-Garahisara, Sasun, Urfa, light, and a number of other areas.

In 1915-1916,. Turkish government forcibly evicted in Mesopotamia and Syria, hundreds of thousands of Armenians. Many have been the victim of hunger and epidemics. Survivors founded in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, moved to Europe and America. Lived in exile Armenians were in a very languid criteria. During the First World War, many Western Armenians managed by Russian troops move to avoid the carnage and the Caucasus. It came priemuschestvenno in December 1914 and the summer of 1915, during 1914 — 1916. migrated to the Caucasus about 350 thousand people. They are based priemuschestvenno in Eastern Armenia, Georgia and the North Caucasus. Refugees are not getting the real tangible assistance, experienced great hardship. In total, according to various estimates, were killed from 1 to 1.5 million.

The results of the campaign of 1914-1915.

The campaign of 1914-1915. was contradictory to Russia. In 1914, Turkish forces were not able to kick the Russian Caucasus Army of the Caucasus and move the offensive acts in the North Caucasus. Bring on the Muslim peoples of the Russian Federation of the North Caucasus, Persia and Afghanistan. Suffered a heavy defeat in the battle Sarykamysh. And the Russian army failed to secure the success and go to a lot coming. The reasons for this were priemuschestvenno shortage of reserves (secondary front), and the error of the Supreme Command.

In 1915, the Turkish forces were not able to use the weakening of Russian troops (because of languid position of the Russian Army on the Eastern Front) and have gained the objectives — capture the Baku oil-bearing region. In Persia, the Turkish side also were broken and could not perform the intended target in the war on Persia to draw on his own side. The Russian army inflicted a Turk m several hard blows: crushed them under Wan, Alashkertskom battle in Persia (Hamadanskaya operation). But also failed to
fulfill the plan of the capture of Erzerum and the complete defeat of the Turkish army. In general, the Russian Caucasian Army operated quite successfully. It has consolidated its position across the front, was able to maneuver in broad criteria mountain winter, improved front-line network of Railways has prepared for the coming of the reserves and was fixed at 70 km. from Erzurum. All this allowed to take place in 1916 winning Erzerum offensive.

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